Travel! It’s rewarding! It’s enriching!
It’s also SUPER GODDAMN TERRIFYING!
On top of the general anxiety that traveling usually dredges up, we also have the terror that literal decades of horror movies have instilled in us about the experience.
From mutant families off the beaten path to cabals of human traffickers just waiting to sell you for parts, horror movies have sprouted whole sub-genres of fears for the more-traveled among us.
But don’t think of these as warnings! Think of these as “guides” laying out the situations that could befall us and giving us bloody how-tos on how to escape! That’s what this piece aims to do.
What follows is a sort of map to the minefield that is travel. With this guide, you and your party will be able to avoid the LITERAL TOURIST TRAPS.
1. Avoid “Once-in-a-Lifetime Experiences”: Okay, so this one might sound a little glib, but the evidence is surely there. Every single time a group of jabronies is promised some sort of “unspoiled beauty” or something “not touristy”, they end up bloody smears on the ground. Don’t believe me?! Watch something like The Ruins, The Descent, Open Water, or hell, even The Shallows! (a lot of The’s in these, right?). But seriously, you paid for the resort, just friggin’ stay there. You are less likely to bumble into your own death that way.
2. Stay on the GODDAMN ROAD: Yet another no brainer. Or so you would think. Many a dad or alpha jock has doomed their companions due to this hubris. The hubris that thinks they can get there by eschewing the road and cutting through hostile areas, usually into the hunting grounds of some kinda roving band of killers. You just have to look at Wrong Turn, and the seminal classic The Hills Have Eyes. Oh, and let’s not forget the criminally underseen Detour for proof.
3. Those Hot People Aren’t Actually Into You. They Just Want Your Eyeballs: You have seen it a million times. You are in a new country. You are feeling yourself. And then suddenly, you are chatting up someone lightyears out of your league. Congratulations! You are about to be thrown into a van and never seen again! There is a whole trilogy of movies devoted to this phenomenon, Hostel. Watch it and please flirt responsibly.
4. Maybe Curb Your Colonizer Bullshit?: It is widely known that white people are the worst travelers. Being one myself, I can attest to it personally. There was not a single family vacation I took as a teen where I didn’t feel like flinging myself out of a car just due to sheer embarrassment. But in horror movies, this is taken to the extreme. Wherein, a group of dumb whities stumble through or into a hidden culture, weirdly enough after giant crocodiles — like a LOT of the time — and then get turned into mulch for their transgressions. This is also a big hallmark of the “Cannibal” sub-genre, which is a red flag of a different stripe. Maybe watch The Serpent and the Rainbow and don’t do ANYTHING Bill Pullman does. Stay woke, everybody.
5. Do NOT Go To Australia: As a serious journalist, I don’t like painting with a broad brush. But the sheer terror and deadliness of Australia makes it hard not to. Deserving of an entire video store shelf of their OWN, Australian crime, wildlife, and even the CLIMATE have provided the basis for all manner of filmed horrors. Movies like Wolf Creek, The Loved Ones, the recent Boar, and Lake Mungo all detail the kind of terror that awaits wayward people who brave their shores. Not to mention the kind of psychological attacks that the country can inflict with stuff like Wake in Fright, Patrick, and the various adaptations of Picnic at Hanging Rock! I’m SURE some squares will tell you that “it’s actually lovely!” and “really cool!” but they are WRONG. Stay home. Nothing can kill you at home! Wait …
So there you have it, dear readers! Five simple rules to keep you alive and sweatin’ as you travel the world like the privileged goon you are! Will these actually work in practice? Are they the ravings of a slightly agoraphobic loon who watches too many movies? WHO IS TO SAY?! They printed it, so it MUST be true!
Until next time, be seeing you.